Japan’s new head coach Akira Nishino is optimistic of the nation reaching the knock stage of this summer’s World Cup. Following disappointing friendly results against Mali and Ukraine in March, the JFA made the surprise decision to sack Vahid Halilhodzic, despite there being just over two months before the World Cup starts in Russia.
Japan national team manager Vahid Halilhodzic has revealed that he is ready to give young players an opportunity in the squad ahead of the World Cup 2018. A number of established players like Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa will be crucial to Japan’s hopes of doing well in the World Cup 2018, which will be held in Russia. However, the Bosnian coach claims that he is very aware that the national team needs some young blood in order to take them through to the next decade.
Even though the likes of Kagawa and Honda have been extremely good, they may not be around by the next World Cup. There is plenty of pressure on Halilhodzic, as Japan has simply not been able to produce results in recent matches. After failing at the East Asian football championship in the final round, Japan has been unable to win the friendly games against Mali and Ukraine.
The Japanese national team has lost 2-1 to Ukraine in their most recent friendly game, played on March 27. The Asian side knows they have a long way to go if they want to impress in Russia this summer but this was made more obvious by the Ukrainians, who dominated and had a fairly straight-forward victory.
Despite missing out in the qualification race for the World Cup 2018, Ukraine were good in their showdown against the Japanese. The Japanese played African side Mali on Friday and they got a last gasp draw to ensure it ended in a stalemate. They warmed up for the Mali and Ukraine game using the Standard Liege’s Stadium.